Friday, March 27, 2009

Easy Virtue

Jessica Biel is still gorgeous but probably a little bit too skinny. The scrawny look still steems to be in vogue. Shameful.

Larita Whittaker is the character played by Biel in this 1930's movie. This movie took place after what was called the Great War which was WWI. Too bad these people did not know a greater war was slowly in its developments. Larita is a coming of age woman, a professional race car driver who has already lived a lot of life. She marries a young Englishman but things begin to unravel when he visits their home.

Kristin Scott Thomas, who to me, has never been attractive, plays the best bitch since Annette Bening in American Beauty. Thomas was also in Mission Impossible but did not survive that long. I am still trying to figure out how she died in that movie. But the first one was much better than MI2. Mrs. Whittaker is Thomas's character and she is the nasty mother in law of Larita.

Ben Barnes is John Whittaker and he is the husband of Larita. He is younger than her and is quickly overwhelmed by Larita's charisma and dynamic character. Either he is an excellent actor or he does not have any business being the lead actor adjacent to Biel.

The movie begins with Larita winning a race in the 1930's. Is this real? Did a female with a major race that long ago? I thought Danika Patrick was seeking to be the first. Whatever. Then they are married and the real footage begins with them arriving to this English mansion. Larita is never given a fair chance. Mrs. Whittaker was already miffed when she received a telegram from her son informing her that he married an American female. Larita and Mrs. Whittaker are just polar opposites. Larita like machines, Mrs. Whittaker loves horses and has not realized farming is going mechanized. By the time she catches on, it is too late. Later on the film, to further spoil her son's marriage, she informs him that their estate and property are losing money and she is considering selling 400 acres to the bill collectors to give them some more time to shore up their finances.

Mrs. Whittaker is stubbon, Larita is vibrant. Larita smokes, Mrs. Whittaker despises this habit. Mrs. Whittaker does not believe her son could work any where but in the country side, Larita has grander ambitions for them both. Mrs. Whittaker's dominating and suffocating attitude has already rubbed off on both her daughters. John's sisters accomplish almost nothing all day and live completely under the blanket of their mother.

John and Larita were only supposed to be at his parents home for a few days. But this soon changes in a couple of weeks and the weeks just drag on and on. Larita is growing tiresome of being around his pretty insufferable family. Only the father is level headed, and perhaps but the butler. The funny thing is, they are bleeding money but they still have a butlet, sponsor fox races, and host elaborate parties. It is all about appearances. Larita should not have married John, their marriage was too quick and not well planned. She has already been married. Her previous husband died of cancer. The longer Larita is held in confinement in this home, the more time Mrs. Whittaker has to dig up dirt on her, annoy her, undermine her, and debase her. True to her name, Larita fights the good fight and remains just as bold. For instance, during the fox hunt-which, to me, is just stupid and cruel-much to Mrs. Whittaker's dismay, she rides a motorcycle rather than a horse. The motorcycle wins.

The culmination of this film is a Great Gatsby like party, and Larita comes downstairs with everyone stairing at her. The dance floor clears, and she requests the band to play the Tango. Larita asks her husband to dance and he refuses. By this time, their marriage is on the rocks, Mrs. Whittaker has won the declared war. Colin Firth plays Mr. Whittaker he steps up the plate. He takes her hand. To the embarrassment and slap in the face of his wife, he completes this dance and it seems to be the most exciting thing he has done in many years. His story is a terrible one. During WWI, he led 20,000 soldiers to their death against the Germans. He lived. That could be an exagerration but perhaps not by much. I know it was a horrific war. Mr. Whittaker did not want to return to England after this episode, Mrs. Whittaker tracked him down in a Russion or Eastern European brothel. He was trying to go down in flames. She dragged him back to their English estate. But he had little to say on the operation of the business and shows little apathy about the potential loss of their land. I guess it has been a front for a while. He apparently does not wish to be alive anyhow. After the tango, Mrs. Whittaker informs him that it is over with.

Right before Larita drives off for good, Mr. Whittaker hops into the car with her.

Before this final scene, Mr. Whittaker and Larita have deep understanding on where they both are coming from. Mr. Whittaker spends a lot time keeping care of the horses, outside of the home and away from his wife. I do not blame him. Larita and both of him know there is not a lot of privacy there.

This movie had some good music, if one likes what the 1930's produced. It was sort of funny. Biel is still spectacular. It does not have some historical signifiance and the writing is stainless and befitting.

I allocate this movie 2 stars.**

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